More Marylanders will take holiday trips this year, and most will drive — even though gas prices are the highest they have ever been entering the holiday season, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

"Gas prices do not appear to be deterring motorists from hitting the roadways," said Ragina Averella, a spokeswoman for AAA, which released its annual holiday travel predictions Tuesday.

Many of the state's nearly 2 million travelers are going without the kids, and without family visits at the top of holiday to-do lists — breaking with traditional patterns in Maryland. More are flying this year as well.

"We expect a lot of eager travelers headed over the river and through the woods," said Jonathan Dean, a spokesman at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. "This year I would expect it to be busy."

Some got an early start Tuesday. Students boarded homebound trains at Penn Station, and holiday travelers mixed at BWI with those rebooking trips after dense fog canceled most of the previous night's flights.

"I'm going home," Yaitza Luna, 32, said with a smile as she waited for a flight to her native Puerto Rico. "It's special because I haven't been home in a year now. Everyone is waiting for me."

The Silver Spring resident was looking forward to two weeks with family, her mother's cooking and lively holiday parties.

"Christmas in Puerto Rico is a lot of fun," said Luna, who had a "Transformers" toy in hand, a Christmas present for her 7-year-old nephew Franvier.

Lt. Col. Jason Quigley, an Annapolis resident who works at the Pentagon for the Air Force, hopped a train with his daughter, Gabrielle Quigley, 13; nieces Baillie Pinder, 6, and Sydney Pinder, 4; and their grandfather, Dennis Quigley, of Florida — all bound for New York City and a Rockettes show.

The three-day trip was Dennis Quigley's idea, a chance to treat his granddaughters before the family gathers in Maryland for the holidays.

"It's just great to get up here with the family during the holidays," he said.

According to AAA's travel forecast, based on economic analysis, traveler surveys and other research by IHS Global Insight, about 1.9 million Marylanders will travel more than 50 miles from home during the "holiday period," which starts Saturday and ends Jan. 1. That's a 1.2 percent increase over last year.

Of those traveling, more than 1.7 million, or about 90 percent, are expected to travel by automobile; nearly 107,000, or 6 percent, by air; and about 77,500, or 4 percent, by trains, buses and other modes of transportation.

Those numbers put automobile travel up 0.9 percent, air travel up 4.1 percent and other travel up 3.9 percent, compared with last year.

Some travelers, including Patterson Park residents Katie Mallory and her fiance, Jeff Evans, are taking off by road, then extending the trip by air, placing them in more than one travel category.

They are driving Friday from Baltimore to the Cleveland area, where Mallory's family lives, and staying through Christmas. Then it's a flight to St. Louis to visit Evans' family. The dog and the car will remain in Cleveland, and the couple will return there before driving back to Baltimore in time for New Year's Eve.

When it comes to holidays, Mallory said, gas prices don't sway decisions much, especially since her mother has been ill.

"We go no matter what, just to spend some time with her," Mallory said. Gas prices only matter when considering trips not tied to holidays, she said. "It's those in-between trips that we may cut back on."

The end-of-year holiday season is the biggest travel time of the year, Averella said, and many people travel regardless of costs. She noted another likely reason that record gas prices won't make a dent in holiday travel: Prices, while higher than last year, have been declining since late September.

In Maryland, the average price of unleaded regular gasoline was $3.27 per gallon Tuesday, compared with $3.21 at the same time last year. But the average was down from $3.33 a week earlier and $3.41 a month earlier, Averella said. Gas peaked at $3.80 per gallon Sept. 13.